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Isla Mujeres vs. Playa Del Carmen for 5 night stay

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Westlake Village, CA
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36 posts
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Isla Mujeres vs. Playa Del Carmen for 5 night stay

Planning first trip and the more I research hotels and read these forums, the more confused I become. Please help!

I am debating over these two places, or if to do both. My husband thinks doing both in the short time we have would be too much. So, now I have to pick one.

This is what we are looking for:

-Great beautiful beaches (not too crowed)

-Small boutique/luxury hotel (on the beach w/ocean view rooms)

-Things to do nearby but not into party scene

Please offer any suggestions. Which would be better, Isla Mujeres or PDC? What are the good points/bad points between the two?


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264 posts
8 reviews
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1. Re: Isla Mujeres vs. Playa Del Carmen for 5 night stay

Haven't been to Isla Mujeres, so can't compare. But, we went to PDC in November and absolutely loved it. PDC is close to the main attractions: Tulum, Xel-Ha, Xcaret, and Coba and we found it very accessible to use public transportation (bus, collectivo). We only signed up for one tour (Alltournative Pac-Chen) which took us to Coba, along with ziplining and rappeling, which we really enjoyed.

We stayed in the northern part of town, so it was much quieter, but still only a 5-10 minute walk to the "heart" of 5th Ave: a great place with many shops and great resturants. We also loved the the laid back atmosphere of the whole town. The beaches in the northern part of town were better in our opinion (near Mamita's and Tukan Beach Clubs). We stayed for 8 days, and felt that was adequate time to enjoy everything. We only missed out on Chichen Itza - but I suppose we will save that for next time. =)

So, I guess it depends on what types of activites that you're looking to do. Hope that helps.

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9,502 posts
17 reviews
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2. Re: Isla Mujeres vs. Playa Del Carmen for 5 night stay

No question....Playa del Carmen. It offers so much more than Isla Mujeres. All kinds of restaurants -- centrally located for excursions (if you want). You can go to Cozumel for the day for snorkeling. Lots of nice small hotels on the beach.

Isla Mujeres is more of a place to visit for the day, like Cozumel.

San Marcos, TX
6 posts
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3. Re: Isla Mujeres vs. Playa Del Carmen for 5 night stay

I have stayed on Isla Mujeres and plan to be married there in May. I have not yet been to PDC, but will travel there as well. Isla is small and quiet, with the only nightlife being palapas on the beach and one small disco. From what I hear from Mexican pen pals, there is a bit more of a party scene in PDC, but it is not hard to stay away from. I loved the turtle farm on Isla, but would have been disappointed if I had not already traveled to several ruin sites earlier in my trip. I understand PDC is closer to ruins, so if that is your deal you may want to consider that. I do think they are close enough for day trips, tho, if you wanted to experience both.

bellevue, WA
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14 posts
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4. Re: Isla Mujeres vs. Playa Del Carmen for 5 night stay

I have been to both Isla Mujeres and Playa del Carmen. In fact a group of 6 of us are returning there for 2 weeks in about 10 days. We are going to both places ourselves, 2 nights on Isla at the Na Balam hotel, on the best beach - Playa Norte. This island is small and full of culture, no real crazy night life and the town with alot of resturaunt choices is only a 5 min. walk away. Look up the hotel and photos, you'll get a better idea.

We will be staying in Playa del Carmen for 3 nights, it is more of a lively town with lots of shopping and restaraunts (many up-scale) There is more partying that goes on in this town. The beaches right in town are not very beautiful, so you'll find that in town there are not too many that are on the beach. We opt to stay close in town with a pool, yet we are still 1/2 a block from the beach. We are staying at the Illusion Boutique hotel.